Updated: Oct 7, 2019
There are many women sporting superstars across the world, whether it is Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Lindsey Von, Alex Morgan or the number of other female athletes that have won games, matches and various championships, women have left a lasting impression in the hearts of sports fans. Though many of these stars are still fighting for rights, equal pay and respect, very few have to compete against men in their own sport and go straight up against them during competition and for a scarce number of opportunities in whatever sport they are competing in.
In motorsports, women fight for many of the same things as their peers in other sports do, but they are also competing right alongside their male counterparts, in a very male-dominated sport, world, and culture. If you look through the history of racing, very few females have been able to have longevity, success and earn the respect of their respective form of motorsports, in general. Whether you like to hear it or not, Danica Patrick is more than likely the most successful woman to ever sit behind-the-wheel of a racecar, in America. A professional career spanning over nearly two-decades, Patrick was able to capture an IndyCar victory at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, a NASCAR Xfinity Series pole at Dayton and a well-known pole position award during the 2013 Daytona 500.
In 2019, Patrick is retired, and the butt of nearly any joke possible to racing fans across the country, and there are currently no full-time females competing in any high profile series in America, full-time. In Dirt Track Racing, we have a number of women, trying to make a name for themselves and make a career out of driving a sprint car, midget, late model or eventually taking their talents to a national touring asphalt series. Karsyn Elledge, Hailie Deegan (off-road trucks, has tested a sprint car) and McKenna Haase, are just a few names giving a career in dirt track racing a go or taking a stepping stone to NASCAR, through multiple forms of dirt track racing.
The question we should all have formed this current generation of talented women in the sport is this; will we give them the same opportunities, number of chances and respect we do male drivers? Will we base their successes with how they do on-track and not what they choose to do with their business or personal lives off of it and will we put the careers of females who have come before them out-of-the-window when considering if a sponsor or team should take a chance on them? These are questions that need to be answered and the playing field between men-and-women drivers needs to be leveled a bit, to ensure that if a women driver has the talent to get the job done, they will not be pre-judged on the "failures," of previous competitors performance, contracts, deals with teams or sponsors.
The future of our sport is bright, but to make sure it reaches its full potential, we have to make sure ANY and EVERY driver with any kind of talent has every opportunity possible to become a success, male or female, any ethnicity, doesn't matter, we all have a responsibility to make it happen and even the playing field, even more than it already is.
(Tulsa World Photo)